Horror Movie Podcast Ep. 037: Christmas Horror (2014 edition)

HMP Sidebar xmas 2014Merry Christmas from HORROR MOVIE PODCAST, where we’re Dead Serious About Horror Movies… In Episode 037, we bring you our 2014 edition of CHRISTMAS HORROR, with four in-depth Feature Reviews of the following Christmas Horror-themed movies: Christmas Evil (aka You Better Watch Out) (1980) and P2 (2007) and Saint (2010) and Gremlins (1984). Then Jay of the Dead also brings you two solocast reviews of Wind Chill (2007), another Christmas Horror movie and Larry Fessenden’s The Last Winter (2006), which is not holiday-themed, but it’s cold and wintry. So, pour some egg nog or make some hot chocolate and join us!

Horror Movie Podcast is a bi-weekly show that’s released every other Friday. If you’d like to support our show, please subscribe to our podcast free in iTunes, and leave us a review! And remember, we love getting your voice mails, so call in with more recommendations and comments at this number: (801) 382-8789 Thanks for listening to Horror Movie Podcast!


I. Introduction

[ 0:02:40 ] II. Feature Review: P2 (2007)
Jay of the Dead = 6 ( Rental )
Wolfman Josh = 6 ( Strong Rental ) Christmas theme rating = 3
Dr. Shock = 6.5 ( Rental )

[ 0:50:33 ] III. Feature Review: CHRISTMAS EVIL (aka YOU BETTER WATCH OUT) (1980)
Jay of the Dead = 4 ( Low-Priority Rental )
Wolfman Josh = 6 ( Buy it! ) Christmas theme rating = 8
Dr. Shock = 2 ( Avoid )

[ 1:40:27 ] IV. Feature Review: SAINT (2010)
Jay of the Dead = 4.5 ( Low-priority Rental )
Wolfman Josh = 6 ( Rental )

[ 2:10:51 ] V. Feature Review: GREMLINS (1984)
Jay of the Dead = 7.5 ( Buy it! )
Wolfman Josh = 9 ( Buy it! ) Christmas theme rating = 9

[ 2:53:12 ] VI. Feature Review: WIND CHILL (2007)
Jay of the Dead = 6 ( Rental )

[ 2:58:19 ] VII. Feature Review: THE LAST WINTER (2006)
Jay of the Dead = 4 ( Avoid )

[ 3:05:58 ] VIII. Wrap-Up / Plugs / Ending
— Voicemail: Erik from Long Island
— Our next episode: Horror Wrap-Up for 2015 / What’s New in 2015
— Thanks to Shannon for the generous donation!
— Original Jay of the Dead Song coming up at the end.
— Winners of the Horror Cinema book:
1. Holly
2. Shannon
“A Day at the Beach: June 23, 1988”

JOIN US IN TWO WEEKS ON HMP: Episode 038 for our 2014 Wrap-up and some horror podcasting from Dr. Walking Dead Kyle Bishop. Hear it on January 2, 2015!

NOTE FOR NEWCOMERS: If you love this podcast, there are 36 episodes of two other great podcasts that precede this one. Just scroll back through our archives, or use the links in the sidebar on the right.

Leave a comment or e-mail us here: HorrorMoviePodcast@gmail.com


Right-click this link below to download Jay’s of the Dead’s original piano composition:
A Day at the Beach: June 23, 1988

Hear Jay of the Dead’s guest appearance on The Resurrection of Zombie 7 podcast: Episode 122: Silent Night, Deadly Night 3: Better Watch Out! (1989)

Scroll down to Planet Macabre and listen to Episode 002: Christmas Horror

Watch the full interview with director Lewis Jackson on “This Week in Horror” (Jackson’s interview — the “Christmas Evil” portion — begins at 46:20.)

Wolfman Josh’s links:
Wolfman Josh on Twitter: @IcarusArts
Wolfman Josh covers new releases in theaters on: Movie Podcast Weekly
Wolfman covers movies streaming online on: Movie Stream Cast

Dr. Shock’s links:
Dr. Shock’s daily movie review Web site: DVD Infatuation.com
Dr. Shock on Twitter: @DVDinfatuation
Dr. Shock’s other horror podcast: Land of the Creeps

Jay of the Dead’s links:
Jay of the Dead and Horror Movie Podcast Official Twitter: @HorrorMovieCast
Jay of the Dead covers new releases in theaters on: Movie Podcast Weekly
And if you’d like to e-mail Jay of the Dead with a good Beastly Freaks recommendation: BeastlyFreaks@gmail.com

Dr. Walking Dead on Twitter: @DrWalkingDead
Dr. Walking Dead’s books American Zombie Gothic and Triumph of The Walking Dead

You can always contact us by e-mailing HorrorMoviePodcast@gmail.com. Or you can call and leave us a voice mail at: (801) 382-8789. And you can leave us a comment in the show notes for this episode.

Special thanks goes out to singer-songwriter Frederick Ingram for the use of his music for Horror Movie Podcast.

If you like Horror Movie Podcast, please subscribe and leave us a review in iTunes. If you want to support the show, we have PayPal buttons on our sister site, Movie Podcast Weekly.com, in the right-hand sidebar where you can make a one-time donation or you can become a recurring donor for just $2 per month. (Every little bit helps!)

Thanks for listening, and join us again Friday after next for HORROR MOVIE PODCAST!

Jay of the Dead

120 thoughts on “Horror Movie Podcast Ep. 037: Christmas Horror (2014 edition)

  1. Per my Planet Macabre review of CHRISTMAS EVIL:

    In all honesty, this is a movie I’ve been meaning to revisit for some time. I know I wasn’t impressed the first time through, but there was an extenuating circumstance as well. That particular episode of Planet Macabre was the 2nd Podcast I ever appeared on (the previous episode, a mere 2 weeks earlier, was the 1st), and being new to “the game”, I was of the opinion that the best course of action was to watch the movies as close to the show’s recording date as possible. Being unemployed at the time, I was able to watch all 5 of the movies we covered on that Planet Macabre episode the very day we recorded it. CHRISTMAS EVIL was the 3rd or 4th I watched ( I saw it right after SANTA’S SLAY), and over the years I’ve wondered if the impatience I was experiencing (and which I touched upon in that episode) had more to do with my cramming all the movies together in a single afternoon than it did the film itself. .

    For right now, I have little choice but to stand by my “2” rating, but I reserve the right to amend it in the future if I feel the movie warrants it.

    • Absolutely, Doc. You sure do. I wasn’t surprised by your rating, though, because all the Planet Macabres were in that very low range. A 2 is not a surprising score for such a bizarre horror film with so few kills.

      Another note on the “Christmas Evil” review: My imprecise description seems to suggest only two deaths in the film… There were more than two deaths (I think it was three victims total — or four, depending on how one interprets the ending), but the victims were dispatched during two kill scenes.

      Merry Christmas, Everybody!
      Jay of the Dead

    • I have to agree with Josh. Christmas Evil isn’t half bad. A solid 7 I’d say. I thought it was like a PG version of Joe Spinnel’s Maniac. Definitely worth a free watch on YouTube.

      • Yes! Thank you, Nate. That’s actually a great description. I have a feeling Christmas Evil is going to come up on this year’s Christmas show and I’m going to try to remember to reference this comment.

  2. There are some really awesome discussions in this episode so far and I just love how exuberant and enthusiastic Josh sounds in the Christmas Evil segment. It made me feel all warm and Christmasy in a macabre sort of way.

    Now I’m going to have a glass of wine and wrap some presents while I listen to the rest.

        • Christmas Evil deserves the praise that Josh has given it!

          I pulled it out of one of those 50 movie packs years ago (the flick is public domain, so don’t feel bad for watching it on YouTube!) and my wife and I were pleasantly surprised. She tends to ignore whatever horror I’m watching, but this film caught her attention.

          As a note to Jay, another podcast called The Strange and Deadly Show reviewed the film and one of the hosts pointed out that when the brother is rolling down the hill, you can hear the van crash in the distance. I don’t know if it’s more easily discernible on the bluray release than any other, but I need to rewatch and look for this myself. I enjoy ambiguous endings as Josh does, but I just know that a ‘reality’ stickler like you that needs to have things tied up neatly with a bow might enjoy this bit if it’s fact.

  3. By the way guys, I’ve been looking into horror movies released this year and as well as “Late Phases” there’s a couple more I’d be really interested to here you cover (although I’m not sure of the distribution of these movies in the US yet so I apologise if they’re not available on netflix or other such sites):

    Over Your Dead Body (aka “Kuime”)

    This one is the latest offering from Japanese Director Takashi Miike and I was really surprised and excited when I heard about it. I’ve mentioned before that the 1959 movie “The Ghost of Yotsuya” is a favourite of mine and the source material for that movie (“Yotsuya Kaidan” a ghost story which has actually been adapted numerous times in Japanese cinema) seems to also be the basis of “Over Your Dead Body” although with a bit more of a meta slant to it. I’ve not had the chance to see this yet but even so I’d love to hear you guys cover it at some point in the future and if you do I’d recommend checking out the 1959 movie mentioned above as a companion piece.

    The Canal

    I don’t know much about this movie but it appears to be a sort of psychological/supernatural horror movie and is apparently very atmospheric. It doesn’t sound like the most original concept in the world (judging by the IMDB synopsis it sounds very Sinister-esque) and it being potentially supernatural might bug Jay but it nonetheless has me intrigued.

    As I said though, no worries if these movies aren’t available yet or you just don’t have time to cover them or anything like that. I just thought I’d get the names out there.

    • I’m also really interested in “The Canal”. It’s been getting a lot of buzz. “Over Your Dead Body” sounds very intriguing as well. I’m always down for some new J-Horror although I have to say that I’m not overly familiar with Takashi Miike’s work. I know of his work, but I’m afraid I’ve only seen “Audition”.

      Some other ones I’m über interested in are “A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night” (this one might be a tad too artsy for the “horror crowd” but I’m still very interested in it) and “It Follows”. Both are supposed to be 2014 films, but I think they’re on limited release, so most of us might not be able to catch them until 2015.

      • Recently watched “The Canal”. I liked it. I would say it has a psychological/ghost story feel to it, maybe kinda like “The Shining”. Although I think it may run into something similar as “P-2” in that it probably should have been named something else. Yes there is a canal in it but most of the movie takes place indoors. That said I give it a 7 and a high priority rental. Hope this helps. Enjoy!

      • Juan: I’m also far from a Takashi Miike expert. The only films of his that I’ve seen are “Audition” and the original “One Missed Call”. I know he’s pretty infamous for “Ichi the Killer” but the clips I’ve seen from that movie just don’t appeal to my tastes whatsoever. The reason that I’m so excited about “Over Your Dead Body” is much more to do with the fact that I enjoy the source story so much and would love to see an updated, gorier slightly skewed spin on it.

        I’m going to have to look into “A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night” and “It Follows”. This is my first time hearing of these movies so i am grateful to find out about them!

        Jan-Gels twin (just typing that name made me giggle): thanks for sharing your thoughts with regards to “The Canal”. It definitely sounds like one that’s worth checking out.

  4. Two random points that I meant to mention in our GREMLINS discussion were that, in Billy’s climactic fight with Stripe, the chainsaw used was Joe Dante’s shout-out to Tobe Hooper and the arrow -> to -> stereo moment was homaged a few years later in the Spielberg-produced THE LOST BOYS.

  5. Jay, Larry Fessenden is a huge supporter of smart indie cinema that has to be respected, even if he tends more toward drama than you’d like. He’s a major reason films like STAKELAND and HOUSE OF THE DEVIL happened (or more recently, LATE PHASES and YOU’RE NEXT), but he’s also produced incredible straight-ahead indie dramas like WENDY AND LUCY. We’ll be watching his WENDIGO for this show soon enough, but I do hope others can recommend something you might like. Do avoid I SELL THE DEAD, however. I think you’d hate it.

    • I can’t call myself a Fessenden fan, but i did enjoy both “Wendigo”, and in particular “The Last Winter”. I haven’t seen either film in a good long while, but with Jay giving “The Last Winter” such a low score, I have to re-visit it to see if it’s as good as I remember it to be.

  6. Just wanted thank you guys for another great episode,i found your podcast about 6 months ago and instantly loved it,then i went back and listened to all the other episodes.My favorites are by far the Halloween episodes i went back and watched all the movies even Halloween 3.Im sorry to get personal my wife was diagnosed w breast cancer about 4 months ago and its been a long hard road through all the trips to the hospital for chemo and radiation so it was great to listen to the podcast when i could just to clear my head ,anyway just wanted to thank you again and btw my wifes doing great her tumor was removed and shes recovering nicely.

    • George,
      Thanks for your genuine comment. You can get as personal as you wish. (I got fairly personal myself at the end of Ep. 036.) But honestly, for a group of international strangers who have never met — and probably never will — this is an amazingly respectful community. More people need to be Horror fans, so they can exorcise their demons vicariously and cinematically through the so-called ideological safety valve of this medium and its most infamous genre.

      I would imagine that considering what you’ve been going through, the Horror genre has served you well. The No. 1 reason I love horror movies is because, in my darkest times, no matter how bad things are for me, they’re never worse than the nightmarish life experiences depicted in horror cinema. So, it makes me feel a lot better about my own problems.

      Still, I’m sure it wasn’t an easy 4 months for your family. I’m so glad your sweetheart is feeling better and that Horror Movie Podcast helped in some small way… Let her know your “sicko horror friends” believe in her, and we’re all in your corner, Sir. Thanks for listening.

      Jay of the Dead

    • George, thanks for your comment. I am so happy we could give you some small bit of relief during what I can only imagine was a very trying time. Congratulations to you, and especially your wife, for persevering. If you liked our Halloween coverage, hopefully you’ll enjoy our upcoming Friday the 13th coverage too. Either way we’ll try to keep it interesting and keep the quality up for you.

      • Wolfman ….yes!! Friday the 13th is where it all started for me, i’ve been hooked on horror since i watched that Friday the 13th part 3 in 3d in the theatres. Jay, i dont know what episode it was but you said something about From Dusk Till Dawn refering to the opening scene being one of the greatest action sequences in a movie and that floored me…its so true,that when i knew that this was my kind of podcast keep up the great work and thanks have a merry xmas!

    • Hey George, I’m very sorry to hear about your wife but glad to know she’s recovering.

      About 5 years ago my auntie went through treatment for breast cancer and then more recently my mum was diagnosed so I can relate to how much of a trial it can be. When I first found out about my mum’s diagnosis it seemed like a death sentence; “cancer” is just such a scary word, but as I’m sure you know breast cancer is one of the most treatable types and my mum has come out the other side stronger than ever. My auntie recovered well too.

      My heart goes out to you and your wife for having to go through such a scary and challenging experience, not only of cancer, but of all the chemotherapy and radiotherapy, it’s a tough road but from the sounds of it your wife is on the up and I hope that soon everything is returned to normal for you guys.

      And it’s strange how listening to a bunch of guys discuss horror films in great detail can be such a useful and cathartic thing but there’s just something about this podcast that helps me see the world in less severe terms, despite the severity present in the films being discussed. I have my own issues, but listening to HMP always cheers me up and takes my mind off the bad stuff. I think the fact that the people who love an art-form considered by many to be immoral and repugnant can actually be so intelligent, insightful, kind and entertaining just communicates something really positive about the world to me.

    • Hi George. I’m glad that your wife is better. Cancer sucks and no one should ever have to go through that. My grandfather died of cancer (his was unfortunately the incurable kind) and although I was too young to realize what was happening, I remember enough to fear it and feel for the people who have it. So, congratulations to you and your wife for fighting a real life monster and coming out on top!

      On a less somber note, it’s nice knowing that there’s people out there that appreciate this motley crew of horror fans. I feel like they’re an undiscovered gem of a podcast and I hope that they realize how good they are never call it quits, because that will be a very sad day indeed.

  7. I’m totally flabbergasted I’m 2-0 for your contests…I’m thrilled beyond words…The Horror Gods or Devils must be looking out for me…I’m the luckiest boy in the whole world!!! This was one of my favorite episodes…If Doc would have been there it may have been perfect…Wolfman Josh =10 (Listen to it!!!)

      • Juan, Jason passed your email on to me. Sorry about the delay. I just moved offices recently and those DVDs got shuffled around. I think I know where they are now, but they weren’t where I previously thought they’d be when I went to mail the disc to you. Just FYI, the Criterion discs are DVDs, not BluRays, because they are the discs I am replacing with the new BluRays I got … but, I will send it off right away. Sorry again for the wait.

        • Oh no worries at all Josh! Like I told Jay, I didn’t want to sound greedy, but it just seemed a little suspicious that I received the shirt in record time and the DVDs where nowhere to be found, so I thought maybe they got lost in the mail—being Christmas, it could easily happen. Take your time, man, there is no need to rush this. Thanks for your generosity!

    • Shannon: Congratulations on the win! And I couldn’t agree with you more on Wolfman Josh’s performance. His input was incredible!

      Thanks for the vote of confidence, but for me, that CHRISTMAS EVIL discussion is perfect as-is!

  8. I just wanted to say I think you guys are doing a great job and I enjoy listening to your reviews. The Halloween Series was amazing, especially the in depth analysis of the of the John Carpenter’s original film, but the others were fun to listen to as well. Keep up the great work!

  9. “Gremlins” is one of the greatest horror movies ever, Jay. It’s in my top 20 for sure and along with “Ghostbusters” it’s one of my most watched movies by far. Your score of 7.5 is too low, man. There were no flying chairs in this one, so what’s your excuse? (just kidding, Jay). But really, this is a great movie. I’m surprised it hasn’t gotten any love in the comment boards—I was expecting an angry mob protesting against Jay’s score. I’m curious about what everyone else thinks of it. As for me, “Gremlins” is one of my all time favorite creature features. It has everything I want in a horror movie: comedy, horror, a Christmas setting, and a young Phoebe Cates. Really, what else could I ask for? This is a 9.5 for me. It’s a classic.

  10. Jay, when you played the “Gremlins ” theme music the first thing I think of is that low pitch cat growl sound , “rrrrrrroooowrrr”. It usually plays when something ominous happens i.e. The cocoons hatch in Billy’s room, the science teacher scene, and the end with stripe. That sound is just so creepy and unsettling. I think it’s a good use of sound to help with the tone of the film.
    Also as I listened to your piano piece I could easily imagine it being played during the end credits of a horror movie, something foreign like “Let the right one in” or “Frontiers”. Keep up the great work! Happy Holidays!

  11. Happy holidays to all of you! Thanks for a fun show. I got a kick out of Jay’s comment about the friend who called Santa “Satan Claus”. It was sort of a joke around our house when I was a teenager, where my dad would mention how Santa and Satan both wear red and you never see them at the same time. “Coincidence?”, he would ask us. (I think he stole it from a comedy routine.) My family has a demented sense of humor and I really enjoy the movies that show the darker side of this time of year. I am definitely going to check out “Christmas Evil”.

    I once had a vivid dream where I got a glimpse of hell and it was a middle school attached to a shopping mall. At the center of the hell mall was “Santa’s Village” where a devil version of Jim Carey was dressed as Santa, on a flaming throne, with his evil elf minions. I woke up laughing right after the Devil Santa asked me if I had been good.

    On a more serious note, I just wanted to thank Jay, the Wolfman, and Doc Shock for providing a great listening experience and a such a welcoming environment for the listening community. I follow a few podcasts, but this is the only one I ever comment on, as the show makes the listeners such a part of it. I really appreciate all the effort, and I love that Jay shared his music with us in this episode.

    • Ha! That’s a great dream Allyson. I love that Jim Carrey was Satan Claus. I also would’ve accepted Bill Murray por Jeff Goldblum.

    • Allyson, I’m always fascinated to hear about peoples bizarre dreams and that’s a pretty crazy one!

      I’d actually love to hear these guys do a themed episode on dreams and nightmares. They could cover movies that demonstrate that skewed dream-logic sort of narrative (some of Fulci’s movies and of course Davd Lynch spring to mind) or they could focus on films that use the subconscious as a plot element. And it’d be cool to discuss what movies have given them nightmares and stuff.

      • I’ve always been interested in someone reinventing the Nightmare on Elm Street movies but in a super serious and scientifically accurate (or semi-accurate?) kind of way. That would really please Juan.

        • Definitely Juan. Those movies have such an awesome and terrifying concept but for the most part they squander it with goofiness. I guess the remake was a push in a more serious direction but it just didn’t work for me. I think if was approached with the same intensity and ambiguity as something like “The Babadook” or a Japanese movie concerning hypnotisim called “The Cure” then I think it could make for an awesome psychological horror movie. Or maybe if it was handled by someone like Cronenberg. The idea of a movie monster that kills his victims in their dreams just has so much mileage because if it’s actually handled in a scary way it has that unique ability to threaten to punch into the reality of the audience. If the killer is just an intangible presence in a nightmare then maybe having scene the movie there’s a chance that night that we may have a nightmare about it. Just like the genius of Samara crawling through the TV the threat of Freddy is one that becomes associated with our actual experience with the film (as opposed to just the experience of the characters in the film). That little childish part of us that’s still afraid of noises in the night wonders “What if I have a nightmare because I saw this movie and I dream about Freddy and he actually does kill me in my dream? What if the movie is just his way of implanting himself in the subconscious of his victims?”

  12. Jay has brought up his mysterious past as a spitter-of-rhymes on several occasions now (and of course demonstrated it over on MPW) and it makes me wonder; is Jay representational of a subculture of polite, gregarious, white Mormon rappers or is he truly an anomaly.

    Also, please don’t take this comment too seriously. I intend no offense towards those of a polite and gregarious nature or people with mysterious pasts.

  13. Do any of you guys know of any more Christmas horror movies that are more supernatural than slasher-oriented? I find it kind of odd that there seem so few Christmas ghost movies when it’s a time of year traditionally associated with the telling of ghost stories.

    • Been thinking about this and can’t think of one. I watched Wind Chill, which Jay reviewed, over the break and though it takes place in the snow at Christmas, the “ghosts” themselves aren’t really Christmas-related in any way. The film doesn’t have that Christmas Carol feel to it. If you find any … PLEASE let me know, because I’d love to see them.

  14. Hey guys love the podcast, keep it up! I heard Jay was asking about the last slasher movie of the 80’s and I did some research, looks like it was Sleepaway Camp 3, which was released on December 15,1989.

  15. Oh come on, you guys! Next black Friday you can’t forget about Videodrome! You know how I feel about it. You can’t talk about consumerism without mentioning the themes of reality television within Videodrome. They Live is as horror as Videodrome if not way goofier. Anyway, my heart is screaming in excitement over your F13 podcasts coming up. Even though I already watched the whole series a few months ago (for the umpteenth time) I am yet again rewatching them as to have them fresh in my head for when you start putting those casts out. Expect a voicemail from me! Merry christmas to Jay, Josh, David and the rest of us HMP listeners!

      • Cronenberg episode!

        I actually would like it if once in a while you had a filmography episode. Another idea that I’d love for you guys to tackle is a list of the most significant/important/influential horror films of the 2000s.

  16. Great Show Yet Again!

    I figured with the talk of the top ten lists, I’d share mine as I’ve finally decided on one I feel pretty good about

    1 The Houses October Built
    2 The Sacrament
    3 Found
    4 Horns
    5 Tusk
    6 As Above, so Below
    7 The Town that Dreaded Sundown
    8 Exists
    9 The Purge: Anarchy
    10 Wolf Creek 2

    Anything I’ve missed that should be on there?

    • Hi Tony,

      I’ve only seen half the movies that are on your list and I have them in really different order (so far). I’m still thinking about mine, but I’m getting close to finalizing it. To me, this year was pretty lackluster compared to last year, so I’m having a hard time putting together a list that I’m happy with. I’ve come up with a list of films that may or may not be on my final list, but that I’m at least considering.

      In Fear
      The Babadook
      Hatchet III
      Cheap Thrills (more of a thriller, but I count it)
      13 Sins (very similar to Cheap Thrills, but I still count it)
      Stage Fright
      Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones
      Blood Glacier
      Life After Beth
      Cabin Fever: Patient Zero
      Open Grave
      Coherence (more of a sci-fi thriller but, it’s definitely got that horror vibe)

      Have you seen any of them and did you like them or hate them? I actually still haven’t seen some of the more well received horror movies so that kind of sucks. I’ll have an incomplete list, but it’s better than nothing.

        • Maybe. I’ve heard people compare it to “Primer”, so if you’ve seen and liked that movie, this will probably be down your alley. I would also compare this to “The Man From Earth”. It’s a super low budget sci-fi film that is all talk and no action and it’s great. I love it and highly recommend it. Both films have plot holes that you’ll be able to find if you think about it long enough, but like with any sci-fi, it’s almost unavoidable. So as long as that doesn’t make you go bananas, I think you should give “Coherence” a try.

      • I’ve seen The Babadook, and thought it was alright, but it is way too over hyped

        Cheap Thrills and 13 Sins were awesome, i just wouldn’t count them as horror necessarily

        Cabin Fever 3 was not good at all

        P.A. Marked Ones and Hatchet 3 weren’t bad

        I enjoyed Occulus for the most part, and was let down by Stage Fright

        The rest I havn’t seen

  17. Good evening my friends. I’ve been catching up on some more recent horror films so I thought I’d drop by with some reviews. Here’s the first and probably the most controversial:

    Exists (2014)

    Coming extremely highly recommended from all parties on the excellent cryptozoological episode of this very podcast I approached “Exists” with some pretty high expectations. In retrospect I think they were a little too high and I probably should have known better. It hurts me to say this because Jay, Josh and Boss Butcher all loved this film so much, but I really wasn’t too impressed. To be fair I haven’t seen nearly as many Bigfoot movies as the rest of you so maybe my viewing wasn’t quite contextually informed enough with regards to the sub-genre. Also, it’s been a loooong time since I watched a found footage movie and this reminded me why that is. It’s a style of filmmaking that, for the most part, just seems oxymoronic to me; the whole point of it is that it allows us to suspend our disbelief more fully and become more immersed in the experience but most films in this style have the exact opposite effect on me. I’m constantly taken out of the movie thinking “Wait is this guy seriously still filming while this is happening?” or “is this supposed to be raw unedited footage, if not then why did they leave these boring and terribly shot bits in?” etc. I know these are common complaints but unless films of this type are pulled off extremely well I just find them too problematic to totally enjoy and personally I find more conventionally shot films to be a more immersive experience. Anyway, the point is that I was probably pre-disposed to not adore this film due to factors that I just haven’t thought about for a while.

    Another huge problem that I had and one that I think owes less to individual preference was the thoroughly dislikeable characters. Sure this is a Bigfoot movie and he’s what we’ve all come to see (and it certainly does deliver on that front) but as I’ve said before; if I don’t care about the characters then the horror and tension of the movie suffers a pretty severe blow. I’m not asking for hours of in-depth character development or even characters that I have anything in common with. Just give me people that I don’t detest. The kids in this think it’s funny to set fire to their friends beard while he’s sleeping, they hit something big on the road and don’t seem to care all that much at all, they film people being intimate without their knowledge. They are Stoner, Generic Black Guy, Pretty Boy, Quite Girl and Bimbo. Not even a Daniel Johnston T-shirt could save them. I honestly won’t shed a single tear if I never have to watch a horror movie where the basic premise is “obnoxious twenty something’s go to an abandoned cabin to party” ever again! Give me a middle aged gay couple trapped in a museum or a bus load of pensioners terrorised at the side of the road. Please! Just not this again!

    Okay, so now that I’ve blathered on ad-nauseum about the cons I will move swiftly on to the more positive stuff: The tension (although diminished by my lack of care for the fates of the characters this still has some genuinely tense moments), the setting, the SFX, the interesting ideas incorporated into the cinematography, the jumpscares. All of that stuff was really pretty great. The Bigfoot himself was amazing! This movie gets a fair few points for the use of excellent practical effects alone. I also loved how the Bigfoot is very gradually revealed to us throughout the running-time. The creepiness of the first fleeting glimpses wasn’t lost on me and, unlike so many other monster movies, the more the creature is shown the more terrifying he becomes.

    Ultimately though, this film left me disappointed and I can only bring myself to give it a 5.5/10. That score would no doubt be a few points higher if I was more of a fan of Bigfoot movies and found footage and if I wasn’t such a grumpy old bastard.

    I hope you guys aren’t mad at me for not loving this movie!

    – David

      • Hahaha! I’m sorry for being such a heretic Juan.

        I’m coming to the conclusion that I have rather odd tastes. I also recently watched both “Blood Glacier” and “The Last Winter” and for the most part enjoyed them much more than “Exists”.

        • It’s ok, man. We all approach things in a different way and there is nothing wrong in disagreeing with some of us, especially when you present your case in a civilized and rational manner—I see where you’re coming from.

          My sentiments for the found footage genre lie on the other side of the coin. I actually have very little problems with many of the things that you mentioned. The non-sense behind never leaving the camera behind has never bothered me. There are always exceptional cases where it becomes a big problem, but here it was handled in a more organic and believable way than most found footage films.

          I’m a sucker for the teens-in-danger subgenre, so I had no problem with that aspect either. Frankly, I’ve seen worse teens than the ones portrayed here (were they even teens? They looked pretty old to me). And the genericness that you pointed out was only shown at the beginning of the movie. I felt like the more they were in danger, the more likable they became. Seeing them fighting for their lives with every ounce of energy they had and looking out for one another was quite pleasant for me. And even though the actors weren’t the best, they sold the fear pretty well. I felt for them and was afraid for them the entire time, because I knew what was coming and I knew it wasn’t going to end well.

          The twist at the end was just the icing on the cake. And it was done in a way that it didn’t feel cheesy or over sentimental. I don’t know, I really liked this movie and I feel bad when people don’t see what I see because I want everyone to experience what I experience. I suppose that’s selfish on my part and I should just let everyone enjoy movies their own way.

          Having said that, Josh will not be happy about this haha. You better watch out!

          “Blood Glacier” was pretty great, but to me it’s a few steps below “Exists”. I remember really enjoying “The Last Winter”, but it’s been years since I’ve seen it, so I can’t really tell you which is the better film (in my opinion at least). Good job, man. What else have you seen? I’m curious.

          • There are a few found footage movies that I enjoy. I don’t mind “The Blair Witch Project” and I quite enjoyed “Cloverfield” (although it made me nauseous) and I agree with Josh’s assertion in a recent episode that found-footage elements can be used really effectively in films with a conventional narrative framework. It’s not like I’ll turn my nose up at something solely on the basis of it being found-footage but if those aspects take me out of the film then it’ll bug me.

            And I guess I don’t mind the whole teens-in-danger thing if it’s done well and the teens are actually slightly interesting and likeable (an example of this that always springs to mind is Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter) but I just think it’s a trope that’s been run into the ground and is all too often a signifier of lazy writing. Sure, the characters are representational of the age of the apparent target audience, I get that, but I’m serious when I say that I’d rather see horror movies starring octogenarians or disabled people or drunken jazz singers or grumpy librarians. There are so many more interesting stories to be told than “dumb kids go to party in the woods”. maybe I’m just jaded!

            You do bring up a point that I should have mentioned in my initial review though Juan; I did find the characters became more tolerable the further into the movie they got but I think that first 20 minutes just left such a bad taste in my mouth that for me it never fully recovered.

            And all-in-all I’m a pretty harsh rater so 5.5/10 isn’t too bad. I guess that’s sort of my go-to number for movies that I don’t think are terrible or anything but that i just didn’t enjoy. My ratings don’t reflect the quality of the film-making so much as just how much I personally enjoyed a movie. Just because I give something a low rating doesn’t mean it’s necessarily poorly made, it just might not be my cup of tea.

            I am pretty nervous about what Josh will say when he see’s this though. I hope I get off lighter than Jason did when he ranked “Zodiac” as the most disappointing film of all time!

            And as for “Blood Glacier” and “The Last Winter”, I don’t know that either movie was as cohesive or effective as “Exists” but I’m a massive sucker for films set in remote, snowy outposts and I also quite liked some of the characters in both movies.

            “Blood Glacier” did have the distracting dubbing but I can forgive that and I really, really enjoyed the imaginative monsters. It was really refreshing to see those kind of beasts brought to life with seemingly totally practically SFX in this day and age. And once again I ask: if a little movie like this can pull off practicals that look totally acceptable then why are we still seeing atrociously cartoony computer graphics in stuff like The Hobbit movies which have immense budgets?

            And there I go again on my grandpa tangents! But yeah, Blood Glacier was a solid 6 for me. The ending was a little underwhelming but it was a fun and creative flick.

            Now, “The Last Winter” had almost the opposite effect on me as “Exists” in that I really liked all the characterisation and dialogue at the beginning but the more we got to see of the monster the less I liked the film. The mystery of what was going on and the good performances really hooked me in and the setting was awesome but I was kind of hoping for it all to come together a bit better towards the end. In Jason’s review he stated that he thought if the film were bereft of it’s horror elements and rendered a simple drama then it would have been much improved and I kind of know what he means, although the more psychological horror aspects really had me intrigued. This one’s maybe a 6.5/10.

            I also watched “The Town That Dreaded Sundown” (2014) and I was very pleasantly surprised. This is the kind of Slasher movie that we just don’t get that much any more. It was stylish, tense, well written, gory in places but never straying into torture-porn. I’m normally very wary of modern slashers but I thoroughly enjoyed this one. 8/10.

          • Both “The Blair Witch Project” and “Cloverfield” are favorites of mine. I don’t get motion sick, so I can’t relate to the countless people that reportedly got sick from watching the latter. But I can see how uncomfortable it could get if that were to happen. It’s certainly not the steadiest of films.

            I decided to change teens-in-danger to teens-in-peril. It makes it sound more interesting haha. But yeah, I get what you’re saying. It would be refreshing to not have the usual characters that we’ve had for countless years and inject the genre with a much needed dose of new ideas. The problem though, is not that there aren’t any new and interesting characters in horror, it’s just that there aren’t many of them, so they drown—or rather stick out— in a sea of mediocrity. In recent years, I can think of a few characters that I’d say were quite interesting and even game-changing. And I don’t want to get into specifics just in case you haven’t seen these movies.

            In “You’re Next” we were introduced to Erin, a badass survivalist heroine that flipped the slasher genre on its head.

            In “We Need to Talk About Kevin” we were given Kevin, an atypical teen detached from his surroundings in an almost nihilistic way.

            In “Kill List” a couple of contract killers were pitted against something that, with all their training and skills, were not ready for.

            “The Loved Ones” gave us a twisted and demented version of a John Hughes type of film.

            “American Mary” gave us a medical student that after facing some really tough situations is presented with an opportunity to make money in an unethical way to say the least.

            “Let the Right One In” gave us a version of a vampire that had never been explored (at least not to its full extent).

            “Black Sheep” gave us killer sheep and weresheep! Enough said.

            And there’s a bunch more movies with interesting characters like:

            Hard Candy
            The Descent
            Ginger Snaps
            Session 9
            28 Days Later
            etc (that’s all I could come up on the spot, but I’m sure I’m leaving tons of other movies out).

            And you know, just because these are all interesting to me doesn’t mean that they’ll be interesting to you, but at the very least they’re trying something new. Also, I know some of them are what you’d call “borderline horror”, but I think they have enough horror elements to warrant a horror categorization.

          • Juan, there’s quite a few movies there that I haven’t seen but of the ones I have I agree with your assessment. “Session 9” and “Frailty” are particular favourites.

            I also thought that the characters in “Stake Land” were really good. Nothing ground breaking but they were developed and interesting enough for me to really invest in them. I also think Ti West is pretty good at adding little nuances and bits of dialogue which really help to bring his characters to life.

          • Damn it, David and Juan. You guys write so much good stuff in your comments, by the time I catch up to a thread, I feel like I couldn’t possibly jump into the conversation (especially in this case, since I’m in my phone). I always feel like we need to dedicate a half-hour of an episode to discuss some if these points. Oh, well. I suppose we’ll get around to them eventually. As Gregamortis would say, “Thanks for keeping horror alive.” But, re: Exists. David, David, David. As Karl would say, “You’re dead to me.” Haha. I actually defend Exists a bit more if this next episode.

      • Well as far as I can tell it’s not been a particularly great year for horror soIi don’t think you can be blamed if you’re not at your most enthusiastic in the upcoming episode Josh. I’m sure it’ll be great anyway. I’m really curious to see what ends up on all your lists.

        As per my comments on MPW I’ve hardly seen enough recent horror flicks to put together a top ten list but I think I’ll spend some time trying to come up with a top ten of horror films that aren’t necessarily contemporary but that I’ve seen for the first time in the past year.

    • I think Josh said it was all fine as far as he was concerned, just too much work and editing piling up on top of the holidays. We’re so close to breaking the 100 comments mark, let’s do this y’all!

        • Haha! Your little ironic asides always crack me up Dr. Shock.

          By the way, seeing as how you reviewed “Matango” on DVD Infatuation will you be covering it sometime on the podcast?

          • By the way, Doc, checked out dead end over the holiday a lot of fun… Did a double feature with jay’s wind chill recommendation! Thanks guys!

          • Underwhelmed is a good word for it, Josh. But I wasn’t expecting too– jay did a good job of setting expectation. The only reason I watched it as quickly as I did is because I wanted to see the slasher flick, the cottage. Coincidentally the cottage came in a multipack that included wind chill– so I thought I’d check it out. Both movies were decent. BY the way, josh, still hoping to hear you thought on wer one of these days! I’d also be interested in your take on the taking of Deborah Logan.

    • Little Jason was last seen watching “Song of the South” in his living room when some kind of a humanoid wolf-like creature burst in and dragged him away, the pair vanishing into nearby woodland.

  18. Feeling lost and lonely without my weekly podcast here! Also I checked out Andrzej Żuławski’s Possession from 1981 over the holidays. Have you guys discussed or thought about discussing that one? I thought it was awesome and had great and gross effects (though not much) but just enough to really creep me out. Any thoughts? Thanks again :)

    • I’ve heard a lot of great things about that movie! Definitely want to check it out. I seem to remember maybe Doc discussing at some point… but I could be wrong.

      • You definitley should, hard to find a cheap DVD copy unless you have a player that can play Region 2. Absolutely worth a watch. Best breakup movie ever too lol!!

  19. Hohoho, Santa’s work for the year is over and now he wants to unwind and listen to some fellows discuss horror films. But what’s this!? No new episode yet! Why, I’m disappointed in you Jay. In fact if I don’t get my HMP fix soon then I’ll be coming down your chimney very early this year and it won’t be presents I’ll be bringing!


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